On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sex sells, and speed kills

Many of you have probably already seen this... the May cover of Running Times:

Like one of my twitter friends said, "They're just two round cherries." Or one of the lovelies at letsrun, "I just want to take a bite out of that thing."

It brings up all sorts of feminist thoughts for me about selling magazines by exploiting women (they did not have to shoot her from that angle!). But mostly, it brings up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings within me, causing me to question my sexuality. No, no - what is uncomfortable is that I'm not questioning my sexuality when I look at that photo. I'm very, very confident that I am looking at a very, very hot photo.

But now, what are you doing reading this? Shouldn't you be queuing up your live webcast for the fun run that is this year's "The heat is on" Boston Marathon? Remember: THIS IS NOT A RACE. It is an experience. (That's what they're actually saying.)

Precautions are in place for a race in potentially 90 degree temps. Bandits will not have support; everyone is encouraged to slow their pace down; charity runners (officially "those who have not met the qualifying standards for their age and gender") are encouraged not to run; and anyone who is registered who chooses to not run can instead defer their entry to next year.

Remember two years ago, when registering for Boston was such a clusterfuck? And then remember when last year, they lowered the qualifying times needed and revamped the registration process? And remember this year, when they intentionally allowed people to defer, thus further limiting potential entrants next year? Maybe the number of deferrals will be low enough to be nominal? Maybe. Or maybe next year's registration will be a worse clusterfuck.

Welcome to global warming. From now on, races will be even harder to get into as record heat means fun runs, cancellations, and deferrals. Now, only November/December/January/February races are safe in terms of weather. Soon, we'll all be paying $15,000+ to run the Antarctic Marathon... until the ice caps melt, that is.

But Boston did steal my new motto: "Speed can kill."


  1. I saw someone comment on Twitter "don't even tell me you deferred Boston because a little heat will make you uncomfortable - I'll lose all respect for you." That kind of attitude is world-class stupid to me -- sure, you're not likely to have your fastest race in 80+ degrees, and that sucks after all the months of training, but it's more than uncomfortable, it's dangerous. If someone feels that risk isn't one they want to take, or that they wanted to run Boston with best-possible conditions, I don't lose any respect for them if they defer. You qualified in the first place, you earned it.

    Though it may initiate a slippery slope for race organizers, since I assume the releases everyone signs include "act of God" caveats that include unfavorable weather conditions which no one can control. BAA is probably doing the best *they* can under the circumstances.

    1. I think my favorite twitter comment was one that was something like, "If you want to avoid the heat at Boston, just go out at a 5:10 pace, and hold that for the next 26.2 miles." But I'm with you that I hate the whole "man up" attitude. Any of these runners COULD run in the heat. Given the option by the BAA, I won't judge them if they put their health/happiness before "proving something" to... someone.

      I think Boston in particular is in a tricky position, given their attitude on bandits - they have a history of looking the other way and allowing non-registered people to run. How to handle those people in this situation? What I wonder long term is whether this will be the start of Boston phasing out their acceptance of bandits. Or charity runners? (A girl can dream...)

  2. I agree, that picture is a bit over the top. I am sure the runner would still be very attractive if she was shot from another angle.

  3. 1) Even Mutai was smart enough to drop out at mile 18
    2) What got me about the RT article was that in addition to the hot bootie short cover, there were numerous other hot bootie short shots in the body of the article. And that the runner in question had full makeup. Even in the pool. And that prior to getting serious about running, she was a model. My eyebrows are officially raised, Running Times.

  4. When I got that issue, I said to Steven "I didn't even know they were taking my picture!"

    So. Yeah. I noticed it too.

    Did you see the article today that says there is only 400+ deferrals? I was surprised. I am surprised by the whole concept, actually. I mean, it was in the high 80s when I ran Chicago in 2010... wth.

  5. "prior to getting serious about running, she was a model"......oh, really? not really sure why i'm bothering to correct someone who has NO CLUE but oh well. duffster, she's been running since she was a pre-teen, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. she has school records from HS, Jr. College, and is the former American Record Holder in the Steeplechase. by my count, she's been running about 28-29yrs now....COMPETITIVELY. and she only started doing photo shoots in the last few years. Not sure why being fast at 40yrs old, fit, and good looking is looked down upon. what, should they all wear long baggy shorts like me? this is the type of attitude that helps keep our sport in the dark ages.

  6. Ditto on what Hesch said. Oh, and as for those "two round cheeries," that's kinda expected for a 40-year-old runner who can still record a 2:12 for 800 meters and a 4:28 for 1500 (converts to about a 4:48 mile). In the past couple years, she's also run 16:29 for 5K and 36:01 for 10K on the road. While raising two kids as a single mom. And working full-time as an elementary school teacher ... All of which is right there in Grace's bio accompanying the article - that is, for those who actually read the article and don't just look at the pictures. ;-)

    1. Looked at the pictures, read the article, googled her, read more about her, looked at more pictures (why the hell not? she's HOT), read the letsrun forum. She is an impressive runner - that goes without saying, or she wouldn't have been on the cover of RT (one of the MANY reasons I love RT and loathe RW). But it's still a photograph that's shot to show off her ASSetts, pun intended... And fwiw, I also have a well-documented creeped-outness from the Ryan Hall naked photo (shudder). I'm not crticizing them using it, I'm just pointing out that they did it because it's sexy.